Perfect Equals Rigid

I think one thing that a lot of people need to realize is that many bloggers don’t blog for others but instead blog for themselves. Dave Winer is one such person who has always stated this time and time again, and I myself have always felt the same way. I don’t think of my blog as a stage act where I’m putting on a show to an audience (and thus need new material daily to keep the show running and me tapping my feet) but instead I think of it as a personal journal that I can record my thoughts and remember them in the future when I forget life lessons I’ve learnt in the past. Today is no less of example of this.

While digging around on the Web last night, trying to discover those who have pointed to my site in the past (which is a great way to find new and interesting people), I came across an article by Elran Oded entitled Good Design Will Set You Free: Moment of Zen that I actually had read a long time ago. Why I was glad I found it again though was because Elran helped to remind me of something very important that I had learnt but forgotten when he said the following.

"The Myth of Perfect Web Design" by D. Keith Robinson was originally written on August 4th, 2003. But it couldn’t be more significant in today’s climate of redesign madness. The rules are all being rewritten before our very eyes, and it is sheer genius for him to have reposted this article the other day in this current context. A testament to the power of truly good writing. Anyway, it seemed to lift me up a little because it appeared to confirm earlier statements regarding overdesign (and trying to be the coolest), prioritizing (choose your battles), and sacrifices (in design). i especially liked the comment made by Nollind Whachell, which in my mind, perfectly characterizes the Myth article. Simply put, "Perfect equals rigid". so true.

When I read what I had written back then I basically gave myself a mental slap to the head. How could I have been so stupid! This was something that I’d learnt in the past but had totally forgotten. What made me think I had forgotten it? Because my Exploring Squarespace site is a great example of this "perfect rigidity". In my mind, I had this "perfect vision" of what it would be, that being a digital magazine that I’d publishing "frequently". The problem though is that producing a magazine is a hell of a lot of work because you need to create all of your content first before you can publish your "issue".

When I looked at what I was doing I laughed at myself. What an idiot I was! In trying to create this "perfect" vision of what I wanted to achieve, instead of sharing this information with others, I instead ended up building a dam that not only blocked the flow of information to those who really wanted it but also built up my stress and frustrations as well, since I was trying to produce something "perfect". When I saw what I was doing, I immediately said the following to myself.

stop trying to be perfect. don’t let things build. let things flow.

And as soon as I said that, I knew exactly what I needed to do. I needed to start unplugging the dam’s I’ve built and start letting things just flow which in turn would help release the pressure that had been building up. Things don’t need to be perfect. They just need to usable. Design isn’t about achieving perfection and holding it there up on a pedestal for all to see for all eternity. Design is about working at something daily to make it better than the day before.

design your relationships.
design your life.
design you.

In closing, I just want to relay two more little things that I learnt from this experience.

small changes daily
make a big difference over time.

stories help us to
remind us of our culture,
of who we are
and of what we value.

We Call It Death

That a company would actually put out promotional material like this and be dead serious about it just makes my skin crawl. Ya carbon dioxide is a natural element of life and so is water. But if the entire planet got submerged under water, would they still be singing the same tune? I mean give me a break. You’d almost expect this company to start marketing CO2 "enriched" water or something. It’s amazing how seriously screwed up people can get when it comes to money. At least some people are trying to show how absurd these ads really are (parody starts about 30 seconds in) but not sure if it is enough, as I could see some people actually believing that excessive amounts of carbon dioxide are a "good thing".

"What’s that orange color over the city Mommy?"
"That’s called carbon dioxide honey. Don’t worry it’s a good thing and a natural part of life. Now hurry up and finish your McDonald’s cheeseburger and lets go. Mommy’s got to pick up her new SUV."

Open Social Networks

Jeff Jarvis talks about what companies can do to compete against Google in untapped areas. I couldn’t agree more on his comments on social networks.

* Social connections: I think there is a big opportunity to map social connections that already exist online. MySpace is really Rupert’s space. The internet is our space. It is, once again, already a social network. So look at it that way and make connections among the people here. Make it a way to find people. Make it a way to measure the quality of relationships: authority (as in Technorati), trust, leadership.

"It is, once again, already a social network." Exactly! This is another reason why I left Flickr. Yes, it does a great job at creating social networks but those networks are confined to Flickr itself. MySpace does the same thing. We need to start creating social networks that are open and accessible, that can easily grab, share, and utilize the existing content on our sites already, no matter which software or service they are created with.

Creating Relationships Instead of Markets

Doc Searls has an interesting article entitled Markets without Marketing.

My take on this is forget about "markets" altogether. Instead focus on creating relationships. And yes that means thinking about your "customers" as real people.

One thing that I’ve realize about relationships though is that creating the relationship is the easy part. The hard part is actually maintaining / sustaining that relationship.

There Goes YouTube! Cya Laters!

I normally recommend YouTube to people (and was even going to have a bit on them in my first issue of Exploring Squarespace) because it’s really an easy way to add video to your site. After reading the following from a Boing Boing post regarding YouTube’s new terms and conditions though, I don’t think I’ll be recommending them further.

…you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the YouTube Website and YouTube’s (and its successor’s) business…